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The Kuala Lumpur skyline was slightly hazy yesterday. PIC BY ROSELA ISMAIL
The Kuala Lumpur skyline was slightly hazy yesterday. PIC BY ROSELA ISMAIL

THIRTY-NINE hotspots were detected yesterday compared with 31 on Friday, which escalated the transboundary haze in the region.

Data from the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) revealed 36 hotspots in Indonesia’s Kalimantan, namely 13 areas in its western region, central (10), southern (eight) and eastern (five).

Two hotspots were identified in Sulawesi and one in Keningau, Sabah.

The air quality readings nationwide up to 6pm yesterday were at moderate levels.

Sixty-six of 68 Department of Environment (DoE) stations registered air pollutant index (API) readings of between 51 and 100.

Tawau in Sabah and Limbang in Sarawak registered good API readings of below 50.

API readings of zero to 50 are categorised as good; between 51 and 100 (medium); between 101 and 200 (unhealthy); between 201 and 300 (very unhealthy) and more than 301 (dangerous).

The Civil Defence Force (APM) has been placed on full alert for any possibility following the haze, which had affected several states over the last four days.

Its chief commissioner, Datuk Roslan Wahab, said the agency’s state directors had been instructed to keep abreast of developments regarding the haze.

“The haze condition in several states was reported to be at moderate levels.

“However, I have instructed all directors (at the state level) to be ready for any eventuality.”

He said this after officiating the closing of the Civil Defence Siswi Challenge programme at Universiti Teknologi Mara (Machang campus) in Kelantan yesterday.

Several states on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, as well as Sarawak, are affected by haze following forest fires in Indonesia.

The Kelantan Meteorology Department said the haze situation in the state was at a moderate level.

Its director, Rabiah Zakaria, said Kelantan was not as badly affected as the southern and west coast states.

However, she said, the public should cease open-burning activity which could aggravate the problem.

“The public can refer to the Department of Environment’s air pollutant index to get updates on the haze condition in the state.”

Meteorological Department director-general Jailan Simon had said the haze was expected to continue following the discovery of 31 hotspots on Friday.

He said the southwesterly winds from Indonesia would continue to carry the haze, leading to poorer API readings in Malaysia.

He, however, said the haze was temporary and that the department would monitor the situation and keep the public informed of developments.

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